Make What’s Ahead Better Than What’s Behind

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Jan 31, 2019

As we move into our new year, the optimism of C.S. Lewis in his famous quote, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind,” can only be realized when companies reflect on both the past and the year ahead. Without this, mistakes are doomed to be repeated and stretch goals will be near impossible to reach.

If you haven’t already looked back to plan forward, there’s still time. Just follow these 5 steps.

1. Conduct a comprehensive review

Before setting ambitious goals or deciding on the programs to undertake, you need to review what went well or not last year. Investing in introspection that leads you to actionable insights is always time well spent. Team members should reflect on the projects they worked on last year and report on successes or improvements with, of course, a big focus on using data to back up their findings. You could also supplement your department’s internal reflections by sending out a survey to employees to see what they were happiest about or what they’d like to see improved.

2. Develop goals

Based on the findings from your introspection, first set a goal of plugging any existing gaps and then set goals that will propel your programs to the next level.

Because benefits play such an important role in employee satisfaction and talent attraction, they should get special attention. The areas any leading global benefits program should focus on are remarkably similar across the board in any industry. The key to success is figuring out where and how your company can improve when it comes to increasing personalization, driving engagement, controlling cost, managing risk, and automating administration.

3. Get program buy-in

Deloittee estimates up to 70% of organizational redesign or change falls short because of resistance in the form of “creative disobedience” from the executive team. It’s critical you ask for executive and board buy-in by being ready to explain your vision, as well as the tools and resources you need to make it happen.

4. Track your progress

Poor follow-up is the biggest hindrance to succeeding with resolutions. This can be overcome in a few different ways. Set an overall goal and then divide it into smaller milestones that can be checked in on at shorter intervals. Put plans in place to track the team’s progress that let everyone know exactly how KPIs will be measured.

Another helpful tactic can be to publicize your goals company-wide. The benefit with this is twofold: It will hold the team publicly accountable and it also lets employees know that the team is constantly working to improve.

5. Value what you do

Don’t undervalue the power of emotional investment in day-to-day work. Remind the HR team that they are not operating in a vacuum. When an employee is suddenly dealing with a cancer diagnosis or an expectant mother needs extra support for a healthy pregnancy, the benefits that support them matter more than ever. This HR and benefits work impacts people in real, powerful ways and that should be a driving force for following through with ambitious, new goals in the new year.

What it comes down to is focusing on progress, not perfection. There will always be unforeseen challenges that pop up in the year ahead. For example, it only takes one unexpected regulatory development for the best laid plans to be thrown off-kilter. Coming up with resolutions for the new year shouldn’t be carved in stone, but rather living and breathing goals that adjust based on company needs and are focused on improving employees’ happiness and productivity.

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